Constructing A Kid-Proof Layout
by Jim Herron
The layout is 4′ x 6′, constructed of 3/4″ particle board for soundproofing. The particle board was attached to three 2 x 4’s as cross beams for strength. A 4′ x 6′ piece of 1/4″ cork and an indoor/outdoor carpet were attached to the particle board, and wheels attached to the 2 x 4’s for easy disposition under the bed when not in use. We went to J.R.’s Hobby Shop for the track, deciding on “O” gauge because of the clearance of engines and passenger cars on the 022 switches. New track was purchased, including three 4′ straight sections (less clickety clack), two straight half sections, ten curves, three switches, and a #260 red bumper. The resulting layout design was an outer oval, an inside loop/passing track, and a spur off the inside loop. Fiber pins were installed for non-derailing at the switches, and all the tracks were screwed down. Power for the layout is supplied by a 125 watt Lionel LW transformer. The track was wired with an illuminated green lockon, with a separate switch for power to the spur, switch wired…and we were ready to go to the next step.
For the “modest landscaping”, Moondog roadbed was ordered. On the inner loop are a Noma station, Plasticville post office, fire house and church, an ice cream stand and #394 red beacon. On the other side of the street are located a Plasticville gas station, bank and police station. Three crossing gates and Lionel #410 Bill Boards fill the area. Now ready to roll, running trains led by an MTH Railking Amtrak Dash 8.
All this took about 12 hours to complete at a cost of $600, including the rolling stock and engine. It looks nice and “runs hands off forever”; to me the sign of a good toy train layout.